Red Sox Trade Mitch Moreland To Padres in Exchange for Prospects Hudson Potts, Jeisson Rosario

The Red Sox have traded first baseman Mitch Moreland to the Padres in exchange for infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario, the club officially announced Sunday.

Moreland, who just reached 10 years of major-league service time on Saturday, is currently slashing .328/.430/.746 with eight home runs and 21 RBI through his first 22 games of the 2020 season.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old signed a one-year deal with Boston back in January and his contract includes a $3 million club option for 2021.

With San Diego, Moreland will presumably see time at first base and DH, although he likely will not be playing everyday or close to everyday like he was doing with the Sox.

As for who the Red Sox got back in this deal, let’s start with Potts.

The 21-year-old third baseman was regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 16 prospect in the Padres’ farm system.

A former first-round selection of San Diego in 2016, Potts most recently posted a .227/.290/.406 slash line to go along with 16 homers and 59 RBI over 107 games with Double-A Amarillo in 2019.

Rosario, meanwhile, was signed by the Padres as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2016.

In 120 games for High-A Lake Elsinore last season, the 20-year-old outfielder drew 87 walks, posted a .686 OPS, and swiped 11 bags while working his way to become San Diego’s 19th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

In acquiring both Potts and Rosario, the Red Sox appear to have added two quality prospects to their ranks. And one of the two will likely be added to the club’s 60-man player pool seeing how infielder Marco Hernandez was also released on Sunday.

Red Sox Trade Rumors: Astros Have Inquired About Matt Barnes, Rays Have Interest in Christian Vazquez as Monday’s Deadline Looms

The 2020 Major League Baseball season has reached its final weekend leading up until the August 31 trade deadline. With that, a few key contributors on the Red Sox popped up in trade rumors on Friday.

According to The Athletic’s Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli, the Astros have “inquired” on right-hander Matt Barnes, while the Rays “have interest” in catcher Christian Vazquez “with early discussions centering around Tampa’s pitching prospects.”

Barnes and Vazquez, who are both 30 years old, are under club control through the end of the 2021 season, with Vazquez having a $7 million team option for 2022.

Coming into Friday with the second-worst record in the American League at 10-21, the Sox seem primed to be sellers between now and Monday afternoon. They made that much apparent last week by dealing both Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman to the Phillies.

Barnes, who is good friends with both Hembree and Workman, could be the next Boston reliever to get moved.

Through his first 12 appearances of the year, the UCONN product has struggled thus far, posting a 6.00 ERA and 6.65 FIP over 12 innings of work. Still, Barnes was among the nastiest relievers in the American League in 2019, and a pitching-savvy club such as the Astros, led by renowned pitching coach Brent Strom, may be able to unlock something in the fireballer.

Vazquez, meanwhile, has a case to be made that he is more valuable to the Red Sox than Barnes is seeing how he anchors an ever-changing pitching staff.

Coming off a career year last season, the Puerto Rico native entered the weekend owning a .260/.295/.430 slash line to go along with four home runs and 12 RBI through 28 games and 105 plate appearances.

Just recently, Vazquez expressed his desire to end his career with the Red Sox, the organization he was originally drafted by 12 years ago.

“I think it’s going to be sad if I left Boston because all my career we’re here,” he said this past Tuesday. “From (2008), a young kid, I’ve been here. Only one organization. And my goal is retire here. That’s my goal in my career. Be part of one organization, have one jersey on my chest all my career. But we don’t control that.”

If chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who used to work for the Rays, were to entertain trading Vazquez to Tampa Bay, who have the top farm system in baseball according to Baseball America, not only could the Sox possibly get a quality pitching prospect back, but they could also open the door to sign free agent-to-be J.T. Realmuto this winter if the Phillies don’t re-sign the All-Star backstop first.

That is just a distinct possibility, however, and Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy even classified Vazquez as someone “we want in Boston” when speaking with NESN’s Tom Caron on Wednesday.

With less than 72 hours to go until the trade deadline, Bloom and Co. are certainly on the clock. Even with all that has transpired over the past few days, it would be quite surprising to see the Red Sox not make any additional moves by Monday.

Red Sox Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. ‘Should Be on Move’ Before Trade Deadline Passes, per Report

The Red Sox could trade Jackie Bradley Jr. before next week’s trading deadline, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Per Nightengale, the Sox “have let everyone know that there are no untouchables, meaning that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. should be on the move, but unlikely shortstop Xander Bogaerts.”

Bradley Jr., 30, is one of two Red Sox outfielders who will become free agents at the end of the season, with the other being Kevin Pillar.

After a hot start to 2020, Bradley Jr. has come back to earth and is currently slashing .235/.300/.358 to go along with two home runs and eight RBI through his first 25 games of the year. Both of those homers came in Baltimore this past weekend.

In terms of where he stands defensively, the 2018 Gold Glover ranks 10th in UZR/150 (-15) and 10th in Defense among qualified American League center fielders so far this season, per FanGraphs.

On a one-year deal that was originally worth $11 million but was brought down $4.074 million due to the shortened season, Bradley Jr. would only cost approximately $1.63 million for the month of September.

That being said, Bradley Jr. could prove to be a valuable addition for a contending club looking to shore up it’s outfield defense, especially if the former Gamecock were to get hot at the plate once more to close out the 2020 campaign.

Even if Bradley Jr. were to be productive for his new organization in this scenario, he likely would not fetch too hefty of a return considering the fact he would only be under team control for less than a full month not counting the postseason.

Over the weekend, the Red Sox were presumably able to get more in their trade with the Phillies by dealing Brandon Workman, who will become a free agent this winter, AND Heath Hembree, who is under club control through 2021, as well as cash considerations, in exchange for right-hander Nick Pivetta and right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold.

If chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom were to attempt to move Bradley Jr. and/or Pillar within the next week, would it be out of the realm of possibilities for the Sox to attach a controllable player or a considerable dollar amount to sweeten the deal and garner a more significant return?

In other words, could the Red Sox use an expiring contract to essentially buy a well-regarded prospect? There was a chance of that happening over the winter, and it looks like it could happen for real before the end of the month. We’ll have to wait and see.

Red Sox Outfielder Andrew Benintendi ‘Available’ in Trade Talks, per Report

With exactly one week to go until the trade deadline, the Red Sox have reportedly made injured outfielder Andrew Benintendi available in trade talks, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Per Rosenthal, the subject of Benintendi being on the trading block came up when discussing what the Indians’ plans are in regards to right-handers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac.

Earlier this month, both Clevinger and Plesac broke the Indians’ COVID-19 protocols when the pair of hurlers broke curfew and didn’t stay in the team hotel after a game against the White Sox in Chicago.

The two were subsequently optioned to Cleveland’s alternate training site on August 14, and one or the other could be dealt before August 31 seeing how their teammates may not accept them back due to a lack of accountability on their part.

That being said, Rosenthal notes that the Indians “trading one of them for a power-hitting outfielder would be a logical step for a team that ranks last in the majors in OPS from its outfielders.”

This is where Benintendi comes into the picture. Not necessarily because he is a power-hitting outfielder, but rather, like Clevinger, the 26-year-old outfielder has amassed three-plus years of service time and is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Despite that common link, Benintendi is currently on the 10-day injured list due to a strained rib cage that will likely sideline him well into September. Even before that, the former first-round pick had struggled at the plate to begin the year, going 4-for-his-first-39 (.103) with one RBI and four runs scored through 14 games played.

Clevinger, on the other hand, posted a 3.24 ERA and .802 OPS against over his first three starts and 16 2/3 innings pitched this season before getting demoted.

As Rosenthal notes, Clevinger was originally slated to make $4.1 million this season, and that figure will only go up in the 29-year-old’s final two years of arbitration eligibility. For a frugal team such as the Indians, they may want to get out from under Clevinger’s contract before it becomes too much of a burden.

Benintendi, meanwhile, is on a much more cost-controlled deal after inking a two-year, $10 million extension back in February that buys out his first two years of arbitration eligibility.

If you want to boil this all down, it basically comes down to the notion that the Indians are a team in need of outfield help, while the Red Sox, who currently boast the second-worst starters’ ERA in baseball (6.04), are in need of starting pitching help.

As noted by Rosenthal, this sort of scenario “demonstrate[s] the challenge of finding the right fit” in trade talks going forward.

If Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is aggressive and active enough, though, Benintendi, and a plethora of other Sox players, could be moved between now and the end of the month. It likely all depends on the return that Boston would be getting back.

Red Sox Trade Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Cash To Phillies in Exchange for Right-Handers Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold

The Red Sox have traded right-handed relievers Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman, as well as cash considerations and a player to be named later or cash considerations, to the Phillies for right-hander Nick Pivetta and right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold, the club announced Friday night.

With this trade made, the first domino has fell for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. leading up to the August 31 trading deadline.

Workman was set to become a free agent this winter, while Hembree is under team control through the end of the 2021 season.

The Phillies, who came into the weekend with the worst bullpen ERA in baseball (8.07), are clearly trying to upgrade their pen as they look to vie for a playoff spot despite a 9-12 start to the season.

By acquiring Hembree and Workman from Boston, Philadelphia has accomplished this in at least some capacity.

Hembree, 31, carried a 1.86 ERA and .503 OPS against through his first 10 appearances and 9 2/3 innings of the year before getting lit up for four runs against the Phils on Tuesday.

Workman, meanwhile, turned 32 last week and had yielded three runs on eight hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts through his first seven outings and 6 2/3 innings of 2020. That’s good for a 4.05 ERA and 2.57 FIP.

The two now-former Sox hurlers will likely become two of the top late-inning relief options out of the Phillies bullpen from now until the end of the season.

As for what the Red Sox got back in this deal, let’s start with Nick Pivetta.

A 27-year-old right-hander out of British Columbia, Pivetta appeared in three games for the Phillies prior to being optioned to the club’s alternate training site on August 11.

In those three outings, the former fourth-round pick surrendered 10 earned runs over just 5 2/3 innings of work.

Prior to 2020, Pivetta owned a 5.34 ERA and 4.56 FIP through his first 89 appearances (71 starts) and 390 2/3 innings with the Phillies dating back to 2017.

Per Statcast, Pivetta, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 214 lbs., is a four-pitch pitcher who primarily relies on his four-seam fastball and has a curveball, changeup, and slider in his arsenal as well.

Turning to Connor Seabold now, the 24-year-old was the Phillies’ third-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton.

Regarded by MLB Pipeine as Philadelphia’s No. 23 prospect, Seabold, listed at 6-foor-2 and 190 lbs., posted a 2.24 ERA and .224 batting average against in 12 total appearances (11 starts) and 56 1/3 innings pitched between three minor-league levels in 2019.

Per his MLB Pipeline scouting report, Seabold “will always be a command and control pitcher, one who has to rely on changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance. His swing-and-miss rate went up in the Arizona Fall League and if that’s for real, he could fit into the back end of a big league rotation soon.”

Because the Red Sox traded Hembree and Workman, they opened up two spots on their 60-man player pool, which will now presumably be filled by Pivetta and Seabold. The former was on Philly’s 40-man roster, while the latter was not.

Update: For clarity, Pivetta was optioned to the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket following the move.

Could Red Sox Really Entertain Idea of Trading Xander Bogaerts Before August 31 Trade Deadline?

Statistically speaking, Xander Bogaerts has been one of the best shortstops in baseball over the last three seasons. On top of that, the two-time All-Star is by all accounts a clubhouse leader and is on a relatively team friendly contract after signing a six-year, $120 million extension with the Red Sox last spring.

With all that being said, could the Sox actually consider trading one of their cornerstone players just six months after dealing Mookie Betts to the Dodgers? Well, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, it is at least somewhat of a possibility given the circumstances.

Those circumstances being that in Bogaerts’ current contract, the 27-year-old will receive a full no-trade clause once he reaches seven years of major-league service time next month.

On top of that, Bogaerts can also opt out of his deal at the end of the 2022 season, which as Rosenthal notes, could very well happen considering the fact that the likes of Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story are all slated to hit free agency the winter before and in turn could reset the market for shortstops.

Considering these two pieces of information, if Boston were to ever trade Bogaerts, doing so before this year’s August 31 trading deadline would likely be the best time seeing how the Aruba native could be moved with virtually no restrictions.

Of course, the idea of trading Bogaerts really is quite ludicrous, to be frank. The idea that the Red Sox would want to trade a player they consider “extremely important” does not make all that much sense.

Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy may have said in a radio interview last week that no Boston players are “untouchable” ahead of the trade deadline, but he did also say, “There are certainly guys who have grown up in the system that we’d like to keep with the Sox for a long, long time.”

Bogaerts, as well as third baseman Rafael Devers, certainly fit that description. And despite what Rosenthal says, I do not feel the Red Sox are “almost obligated” to shop around the shortstop.

2020 MLB Trade Deadline Will Be August 31st, per Report

With it looking increasingly likely that the 2020 Major League Baseball season will begin in late July, this season’s trading deadline would be on August 31st, according to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark.

This news comes as MLB and the players association continue to hash things out on a potential agreement for the coming season.

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the MLBPA  “has agreed to report to training camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season.”

The only thing holding up the finalization of this deal, as noted by Passan, is “one last health-and-safety hurdle to get over.” The hope is that this will be resolved by Tuesday night.

Regarding the newly-implemented August 31st trading deadline for this abbreviated 2020 season, clubs will have a shorter amount of time to determine whether they want to be buyers or sellers at said deadline.

If Opening Day was on July 24th,  teams would only have about 38 days make that crucial decision. And if a club were to acquire a player on an expiring contract at the deadline, they would only have control of that player for 27 days. A little less than four weeks time.

The Red Sox, under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, have four players who are set to become free agents this winter in Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, Brandon Workman, and Collin McHugh.

J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland, and Martin Perez, meanwhile, have options for 2021.

With no baseball yet to be played this season, it’s obviously way too early to determine where the Red Sox will stand come August 31st. But, the moving back of the trading deadline, and the fact that there will even be one, is definitely noteworthy.

Red Sox Nearly Traded Mookie Betts to Dodgers Before Last Year’s Trade Deadline

The Red Sox may have just traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers last week, but according to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the two sides had discussions regarding the starting outfielder going back to last July before the trading deadline.

At that point, under then-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the Sox found themselves at 54-46 entering the week of July 22rd having just dropped two out of three to the lowly Orioles on the road.

Falling back to 11 games off the pace for the American League East and 3 1/2 games back of the second wild card spot, it seemed as though Dombrowski at least entertained the idea of selling off some assets.

With 1 1/2 years of team control remaining, Betts, in the midst of a solid followup season to his American League MVP campaign in 2018, could have fetched a serious return on the trade market.

The Dodgers already owned the National League’s top record at that point, butting a bona fide star such as the 26-year-old Betts certainly would not have hurt their chances of going back to the World Series for a third consecutive year.

However in-depth conversations between Dombrowski and Friedman got during that penultimate week of July, the Red Sox began to rattle off some wins.

Yes, the club proceeded to win five of its next seven games against the Rays and Yankees to storm back to 1 1/2 games out of a wild card spot. That seemed to put a halt on all talks revolving around the idea of dealing Betts.

Alas, the trade deadline came and went, the Sox did not make any significant additions or subtractions, and they proceeded to drop their next seven contests in a row to all but fall out of contention for a wild card spot.

Knowing what we know, trading Betts to the Dodgers back in July might not have been the worst thing to do. But since it did not happen, at least we got this moment out of it later on during the final game of the 2019 season and perhaps Betts’ last in a Red Sox uniform.

 

 

Former Red Sox Second Baseman Ian Kinsler Retires From Baseball

In case you missed it, former Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler retired from baseball on Friday night after spending the 2019 season with the San Diego Padres. He will however remain with the Padres in a front office capacity, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Kinsler, 37, finishes a 14-year big-league career between the Rangers, Tigers, Angels, Red Sox, and Padres with 1,999 career hits, 257 career home runs, 909 career RBI, four career All-Star nods, two career Gold Glove Awards, and one career World Series championship, which he won with Boston in 2018.

The Sox acquired Kinsler from the Angels in exchange for pitching prospects Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez the day before the trade deadline in 2018.

Brought in to stabilize Boston’s infield defense at second base, the Arizona native slashed .242/.294/.311 with one homer and 16 RBI over 37 games while ranking 11th among American League second baseman in FanGraphs’ Defense metric (0.8) in that span.

Appearing in 11 of the Sox’ 14 postseason contests that October, Kinsler went 7-for-34 (.206) with three runs driven in.

“Obviously, Detroit was a great experience for me,” Kinsler told The Athletic. “Dave Dombrowski traded for me twice. He traded for me in Detroit, then for that magical run in Boston. I was able to be a part of a world-championship team. Those are the two things that really stand out in my head.”

Kinsler also added that, “The run in Boston, being just a small part of that was incredible.”

After winning his first World Series title with the Red Sox, Kinsler inked a two-year, $8 million deal with San Diego prior to the start of the 2019 campaign, but a herniated cervical disk held him out from August 12th on and was the ultimate deciding factor in his deciison to step away from playing baseball.

Kinsler may have only been with the Red Sox for a brief three months, but he definitely made his time in Boston worth it.

No, the Red Sox Should Not Fire Dave Dombrowski

In case you missed it, the Red Sox stood pat at Wednesday’s trading deadline, meaning no new reinforcements from the outside will be added to Boston’s 25-man roster.

Given the club’s inconsistent play as of late, especially out of the bullpen, that news, or lack of news, upset a great deal of Red Sox fans.

That being the case because as of right now, the Sox are on the outside looking in in the American League playoff picture, as they sit 10 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East and 2 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card spot.

So, with that information, one had to figure that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski would make a move to solidify his bullpen or something to that effect.

But, as already mentioned, the deadline came and went and nothing came of it.

“Realistically, we’re probably playing first for a wild card spot,” Dombrowski said in a press conference Wednesday. “We’re playing for a one-game wild card. You look at that a little bit differently as far as what you’re willing to do and the risks you’re willing to take.”

If the Red Sox were closer to first place in the division though, Dombrowski’s approach to the deadline may have been different, saying that, “I think if we were closer to first place, I would have been more open-minded to some of the other things.”

Part of the reason why Boston is not closer to first place does fall on Dombrowski. He had an adequate amount of time to find replacements for both Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel over the offseason, and acquiring Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres was the only move made.

Through 109 games this season, the Red Sox bullpen ranks seventh in the American League in ERA (4.54), seventh in innings pitched (414 1/3), sixth in batting average against (.243), 10th in WHIP (1.40), and second in blown saves (19).

It hasn’t all fell on them this year, but it is clear that the group of relievers the Red Sox have compiled does not stack up well against what clubs such as the Yankees or Houston Astros have put together.

Building a competent bullpen has always been thought of as one of Dombrowski’s weaknesses as an executive, even going back to his Detroit Tigers days.

The way money was allocated over the winter may play into Boston’s bullpen struggles as well, as more than $23 million was committed to Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce alone for this season, eventually leading to Dombrowski having very little room to work with in trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold.

All and all, 2019 has not been a banner year for the reigning World Series champions. But, they are the defending World Series champions for a reason.

Yes, Dombrowski aided the Red Sox in notching their fourth World Series title since the turn of the century with the moves he made last July and even before that.

Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez, Steve Pearce, David Price, and Chris Sale were all either signed or acquired under Dombrowski’s watch since taking over as president of baseball operations in 2015. Each of those five players played a key role during that World Series run.

Since Dombrowski’s first full season as president of baseball operations in 2016, the Red Sox have won three straight division titles for the first time in franchise history and capped that stretch off with a historic 2018 campaign.

So, I get that if the season ended on Thursday, the Red Sox would be out of the postseason. I get that that is not a good look given how this team’s competitive window should still be open. But, what I can not understand is the rationale behind wanting to fire Dombrowski.

The architect behind the 2018 team? Red Sox fans want to him run him out of town? Less than a year after winning the World Series? That is something I simply can’t get behind.